A baby with a plush toy dogThe Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect (PERCAN) iniative WA, founded through an initial $3m Lotterywest grant and partnered with Parkerville Children and Youth Care, is focused on the research and development of cutting-edge, evidence-based therapeutic models for responding to child abuse and neglect across the WA context.

At the forefront of this work is a desire and commitment to designing and developing a leading and evidence-based treatment approach for complex trauma. Sexual abuse and the impacts of abuse related trauma continue to be a devastating and significant problem, with up to 27% of Australian females and 12% of males reporting experiencing childhood sexual abuse. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that service systems in Australia do not have the capacity to meet the therapeutic and support needs of victim survivors, particularly noting the lack of therapeutic services for children and young people. Ultimately, it was found that there was a critical need for better evidence on effective responses to complex trauma and for high quality workforce development in the provision of evidence-based therapeutic services for abuse related trauma.

In addition to providing children who have experienced abuse and trauma with access to the most appropriate and highest quality services and support, PERCAN is working towards ensuring that practitioners who work directly with children and young people impacted by abuse are well-equipped to support them. The goal is to strategically implement high-quality and affordable professional development opportunities for practitioners, with the aim of increasing the skills of the workforce across the sector.